With a game gaining popularity comes the possibility of a sequel. Sonic The Hedgehog gained momentum, helping SEGA gain a huge market share just one month before the Super Nintendo would release in 1991 in North America. So now Nintendo and SEGA were neck and neck, and the Bit Wars would now begin. SEGA continued their winning streak still post-SNES release, and they wanted to continue that. With a little bit of western outsourcing, a little bit of eastern star power, and a couple of fox tails thrown in, SEGA would begin production on what some consider one of the best Sonic games in series history. So get those spinny legs ready as this weekend we take a journey back to Sonic The Hedgehog 2.
A Hedgehog, A Fox, and… Genocide?
As stated in the intro paragraph, SEGA would task the development of Sonic 2 to the SEGA Technical Institute, along with Sonic Team of Japan members Yuji Naka and Hirokazu Yasuhara. I have a good feeling these two got involved since the last time an American branch tried a Sonic game, this almost happened. The plan of action for this game was, of course, make the game better than the first one. This meant doubling the stage amount, adding a sidekick to the mix, and time travel. As development progressed, the time travel idea was removed and placed instead in Sonic CD.
So Finally the game released on November 24, 1992, a day PR reps and fans called Sonic 2s Day. Critics and fans loved the game and the increased speed of gameplay. It had new special stages and added an actual reward for getting the Chaos Emeralds in the form of becoming Super Sonic. Sonic 2 introduced Tails, a young genius who can fly plans and ruin you in the Special Stages. Sonic 2 was was also the beginning of the famous Death Egg saga as Dr. Robotnik tries multiple times to launch the Death Star-like Death Egg to turn all of the world’s creatures into robots. The Death Egg is the last stage of the game, but is only there to facilitate the final boss battles of the game.
As time passed, rumors of cut stages began to surface. One of the stages cut was Hidden Palace Zone, a stage the developers wanted to use to sort of explain where Sonic would get his Chaos Emerald powers and to explain where those emeralds come from. Unfortunately time constraints forced them to cut it from Sonic 2. They would however return to this idea and implement it into Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The other stages were Wood Zone, Dust Hill, and a awkwardly named stage called Genocide City. The latter stage was meant to be a sort of hyper-mechanical cyber stage that would act as a sort of stronghold for Robotnik. According to level designer Tom Payne, the name was changed from Genocide City to Cyber City once the team realized what Genocide really meant. The team didn’t have “a complete grasp of the English language… [The team] may have been looking for a name that sounded dangerous.” The stage was later scrapped completely and became Metropolis Zone Act 3.